Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Consider Spraying Brush In The Fall

For most brush species, ranchers tend to think of late spring and early summer as the season for herbicide spraying.  That is the best time for foliar applications on many hardwood species.  But if you run out of time before you run out of brush, you can change your tactics to continue brush control into the fall.
            You can spray brush that’s susceptible to foliar application in the fall, or switch to methods of application that don’t depend on leaves to absorb the herbicide.
            Basal bark applications aren’t dependent on leaves, and cool fall days may be the most comfortable time for working at individual plant treatment.  With Remedy herbicide, streamline basal application and low volume basal application are effective on a wide variety of brush species year-round.
            For some species, such as mesquite, optimal control has been achieved by treating anytime the brush has mature leaves, roughly May through September.  But later basal applications still provide acceptable control – often better than optimally timed foliar treatments.  Compared to foliar applications, basal applications are more consistent from year to year.  On greenbriar, dormant season treatment can be just as effective as a growing season application.
            With low volume basal application, fall applications have been successful with a mix of 25% Remedy herbicide and 75% diesel fuel.  Spray the lower 15 to 20 inches of stem.  Wet all sides of the stem, but not to the point of runoff.  The method is best suited to slick-barked stems less than 6 inches in diameter.
            For streamline basal application, fall applications have been successful with a mix of either 25% Remedy and 75% diesel, or 25% Remedy, 10% penetrant (such as Cide-Kick, Cide-Kick II, AD 100 or Quick Step II) and 65% diesel.  Apply the mix with a straight stream nozzle in a 2 to 3 inch wide band completely around the stem.  Streamline basal is best suited to slick-barked stems less than 3 inches in diameter.
            With streamline basal, the penetrant seems to improve control on greenbriar, yaupon, pricklyash and Texas persimmon.  On other species it may not increase control, but it may improve coverage around the stem, especially on cooler days when diesel is more viscous.  If the penetrant saves a little time, the additional cost may be made up in labor savings.  If you can spray the stem from one side – and still have the solution circle the stem – you can save mixture.
            For almost any brush species, an option that’s effective any time of year, including winter, is cutting the brush and then treating the freshly cut stump.  For these applications, use a mixture of 25% Remedy and 75% diesel fuel.  Spray the sides and outer portion of the cut surface including the cambium.  Thoroughly wet the cut surface, stem and root collar, but not to the point of runoff.
            For more information on fall brush control methods, contact me at the County Extension office at 940-627-3341.

Trunk or Treat and Halloween Activities

Trunk or Treat and Halloween activities are festive days that kids enjoy, because they get dressed up and get treats. For health-conscious parents, these days can be tricky. Do you set limits? Do you let kids decide how much to eat? I found advice on the KidsHealth.org and Clemson Cooperative Extension websites that I thought worthy of passing along.
There isn't just one right answer. Instead, use your best judgment based on your child's personality and eating habits. Kids who generally eat just a couple of pieces and save the rest might be trusted to decide how much to eat. But if your child tends to overdo it, consider setting limits. Here are some more tips for handling the treats:
·         Before kids go trick-or-treating, try to serve a healthy meal so they're not hungry when the candy starts coming in. 
  • Know how much candy your child has collected and don't store it in his or her bedroom. Having it so handy can be an irresistible temptation for many kids.
  • Consider being somewhat lenient about candy eating on Halloween, within reason, and talk about how the rest of the candy will be handled.  Candy and snacks shouldn't get in the way of kids eating healthy meals.
  • If a child is overweight — or you'd just like to reduce the Halloween stash — consider buying back some or all of the remaining Halloween candy. This acknowledges the candy belongs to the child and provides a treat in the form of a little spending money.
  • Be a role model by eating candy in moderation yourself. To help avoid temptation, buy your candy at the last minute and get rid of any leftovers.
  • Encourage your kids to be mindful of the amount of candy and snacks eaten — and to stop before they feel full or sick.
You also can offer some alternatives to candy to the trick-or-treaters who come to your door. Here are some treats (individually wrapped items are best) you might give out:
  • treats to promote physical activity like bouncy balls, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, or plastic/foam fliers.
  • snacks such as small bags of pretzels, sugar-free gum, sugar-free candy, trail mix, small boxes of raisins, and popcorn
  • small boxes of cereal, cereal bars animal crackers,
  • non-food treats, like stickers, toys, temporary tattoos, false teeth, little bottles of bubbles and small games, like tiny decks of cards (party-supply stores can be great sources for these)
  • consider being a part of the Teal Pumpkin Project which has raised awareness of those children with food allergies and their struggles to enjoy trick or treating. You can take part in this project by providing non-food treats and displaying a teal pumpkin in front of your home/vehicle trunk to indicate to passersby that you have non-food treats available.
Steer clear of any snacks or toys — like small plastic objects — that could pose choking hazards to very young children.
And remember that Trunk or Treat/Halloween, like other holidays, are a single day on the calendar.  If your family eats sensibly during the rest of the year, it will have a more lasting impact than a few days of overindulgence.
For additional information on children’s health, contact Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Wise County Extension office at 940/627-3341.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fall Spraying Aids Fruit Trees

Preparation for next year’s fruit crop can begin this fall by spraying trees for several fruit tree diseases. Bacterial canker, bacterial spot, coryneum blight and leaf curl are diseases that can be slowed by spraying now.

Bacterial canker is the most serious of the targeted diseases. It is a common cause of tree dieback and death. Canker also causes bleeding or gumming along the trunk and branches. In eight out of 10 cases, fruit tree gumming is caused by canker rather than borers, which are often mistakenly blamed for the problem. Canker gumming is especially evident in the fall. It is caused by a systemic bacteria that plugs the tree’s vascular system. The only thing that will help trees seriously infected with canker is good care: adequate water, fertilizer and weed control.

Bacterial spot and coryneum blight commonly damage leaves and sometimes the fruit of stone fruit trees in the spring and summer. Physical signs of these diseases are leaves with small holes; in severe cases, trees are defoliated. Spraying now will not eliminate the disease but will reduce its incidence next spring and summer.

Another common disease is leaf curl, which causes extremely crinkled leaves in the spring. Leaf curl is caused by a fungus that quits once temperatures begin to get warmer. The disease is worse following a cool, damp March, but spraying now is usually sufficient to prevent it from becoming bad enough to cause heavy defoliation next spring.

Spraying different mixtures of Kocide 101, Kocide 606 and Kocide DF or any multipurpose fungicides containing copper can be used effectively to prevent these diseases.  Kocide 101 is the only formulation available in small enough qualities to be practical for garden use. Kocide does contains copper, which will cause leaf burn on healthy green foliage, so wait until the leaves are beginning to drop and are easily brushed from the tree.  It is best to apply this spray while most of the leaves are still attached, but the spray is worthwhile, even if most of the leaves have already dropped.

Besides spraying, sanitation is important in reducing the carryover of disease to next year’s crop. Mummified and rotting apples, dead wood on the ground or in the tree, plus ragged stubs of broken branches harbor disease spores. These items should be pruned out, gathered and burned or tilled into the soil.

Fall is not a good time to prune fruit trees or other deciduous plants. Pruning stress, especially when coupled with other stresses including drought, excessive rain, poor nutrition and disease, can make the tree more vulnerable to winter injury.

We have had a very good summer and fall when it comes to rainfall.  Remember even if we get some rain, the roots of deciduous trees, vines and shrubs are active throughout the fall and winter, and the soil should never be allowed to dry.

Pumpkin Time

Pumpkin pie tastes great this time of year and is also an excellent source of nutrients. The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protection against heart disease.  These yummy pumpkin pie parfaits are a delicious way to get your vitamin A in for the day! This dessert is a healthier alternative to traditional pumpkin pie that may be full of unneeded calories!
Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Parfait

Pumpkin pie layer:
  • 15 oz pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Place all ingredients for Pumpkin Pie layer in a bowl, mix well.

Yogurt layer:
  • 1 cup low fat vanilla Greek yogurt
Measure out yogurt into a bowl.

Crumble Layer:
  • 6 sheets graham crackers
  • 1 tbsp whole almonds for topping (optional)
Place graham crackers in a plastic bag, crush until at desired texture. 

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin pie mixture into small 3 oz. containers. Add a heaping tablespoon of yogurt, then top with a heaping tablespoon of crumble. Repeat adding a layer of pumpkin mixture, yogurt, and top with more crumble. Add whole almonds on top if desired. Store ingredients separately and assemble just before serving.  Makes 6 parfaits.

Nutrient Facts: Calories- 96 per serving; total fat- 2gm; saturated fat-1gm; cholesterol – 3gm; sodium-227 mg; potassium-183mg; total carbohydrates- 17g; dietary fiber- 2g; sugars-12g.